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A Return to Civility

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#1 chris fawcett

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:58 AM

Dear colleagues,

Visiting here used to like throwing a door open on a room of friends, now I think twice about visiting. Seeing a newbie slammed, witnessing an interesting question dismissed, or just watching someone swinging his arrogance (replace with appropriate noun) around doesn't make my day.

Let's be a community again. Let's return to civility.

All the best,

Chris
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#2 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

As a newbie steadicam operator (just two years under belt after workshop) every time I post a reply or start a topic, I add lines and lines of preemptive arguments. My last two started topics contained more of these preemptive arguments then the main argument itself.

English is not my native language and I fear that in current atmosphere in the forum, if people misunderstand me, they will assume the worst from my post and instead of asking to clarify they will bite my head off.
I live and work in Istanbul. I don’t have the luxury to have professional discussions with top of the line veteran operators face to face. This forum, my limited workshop contacts and my mentor in Istanbul are the only options I have in order to bounce ideas back and forward.

Again I don’t have to luxury to try out equipment at the manufacturers’ office and then decide; so I have to ask. I have to decide to buy or not and the decision is pretty much a gamble. People must have a certain credit to ask some questions which seems obvious to others.

I hope the forums will be a more welcoming place and all the people (veteran or newbie) that currently stay away due to hostile environment will return back.

I’m not suggesting turning this website to a newbie hell; asking the same questions over and over without properly searching on the forum or asking without thinking before posting. Everything should be within reason.

Have a nice holiday season.

Evrim.
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#3 Janice Arthur

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

Hi all;

We're on the right track here. It is no longer a US dominated world. Many don't speak English first and we're not going to unring the bell, its a world increasingly dominated by smaller and smaller cameras.

What started out as a niche business is now an even smaller niche business. If you run a production company in any size town you may have to pull out a Steadicam and do it a few times a year. You would very likely not have the budget or luxury to hire someone who specializes in this to the exclusion of other things.

I figured out my "blunt" and "directness" (as Alec Jarnagin put it) was not the tone I was looking for but had inadvertently adopted to stop crazy cross discussion points but it was not what I was aiming for.

So, even before Chris started this thread I'd figured out a new "tone" to my posting. I think my intention is the same, don't always go to the forum first, do some work on your end but if you have a question that's good there are enough LEVELS of knowledge now to get it answered. Some of those who haven't given an answer before can and we can DIVERSIFY the number of people who answer questions and take some of the mind numbing questions from those who always answer and get testy.

Cheers to the new year 2013.

Janice
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#4 chris fawcett

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:41 PM

Colleagues,

I regret the rivisionism on this forum. The thread that prompted my post has now been 'cleansed' by someone in a position to do so.

Without open discussion, we are nothing.

All the best,

Chris
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#5 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:34 PM

Without open discussion, we are nothing.


didn't this already happened a short while ago?
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 05:22 PM

Colleagues,

I regret the rivisionism on this forum. The thread that prompted my post has now been 'cleansed' by someone in a position to do so.

Without open discussion, we are nothing.


Yes Chris and it was Tim Tyler's choice to revise that thread.


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#7 Jessica Lopez

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

To my Steadi Brothers and Sisters,

I used to come to this forum all the time after I realized my dream was to be a Steadicam Operator. Was shortly after I took an amazing workshop with Peter Abraham at the University of Toledo I attended back in early 2000s. My main focus became Steadicam. When I first landed in LA, I was fortunate to get a job at Tiffen Steadicam in Glendale in 2006. Barely surviving with the money I was making, Tiffen gave me the opportunity to learn the rigs, meet the people, and practice the craft. That to me was the world. All the guys that build Steadicams are very knowledgable and friendly people. I felt I was getting closer to my dream.

Then a great opportunity at Panavision opened up for me and I moved my employment there. I remember what a Veteran Operator once said at a Q&A: "In order to be a good Steadicam Operator you must first be a good Camera Operator." Thank you Kenji, for that has never left my mind. I took that powerful wisdom and tried to hone my craft in both areas. It wasn't until the writer's strike of 2007 happened that I experienced my first FORCED ability to survive and adapt in this business. Not even a real steadicam operator yet, was so close to putting a loan on a used Master Rig and then I lost my job. Due to some loop hole in the system, my unemployment checks didn't kick in and I was forced to move out of my apartment and sleep in my car for about 4 months (most of you don't know that). But that didn't stop me.

I was able to recoup and maintain survival in Los Angeles on pennies. Got lucky and got my first real TV show gig as a field technician. Repairing and trouble shooting field cameras for a Paparrazi tv show. Then I got to show them my ability of operating a camera and they hired me as their studio camera operator (not a paparrazi). Thank goodness. Was making good money working for the devil of course but I got to be around cameras. And that was all I cared about. Even though I wasn't in a Steadicam, I still kept in contact with all the Veteran Steadicam Operators that would willingly help me learn more of the craft. During that time in 2008 I also became the event coordinator for the Steadicam Guild. Working alongside David Allen Grove to help bring more events to the Steadicam Community in Los Angeles. I was so excited. Meeting so many people, helping so many people, all of which shared the same dream as me. And most of them I idolized. To me that was just as good as being a real Steadicam Operator. Because I got to be around some of the greatest in the business and I was so honored and thankful.

So as this studio camera operator, I ended up getting Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in my right elbow from a pinched nerve from all that damn handheld work with the Panasonic 900. So I filed a workmen's comp claim. And of course, knowing how shitty producers are in this industry, they FIRED me three days later. So after I had my physical therapy and was able to regain 97% of my nerve tissue, I got a lawyer and sued the show.

Thankfully after almost a year of BS, fighting legalities, I had enough funds to put a down payment on a Steadicam Rig. Even though I had no job and was getting disability I wanted to risk it all to get a rig. I was willing to sleep in my car again just to own a Steadicam rig. Just to finally be able to say, "Hi I'm Jessica, Steadicam Owner/Operator." But of course, that wasn't the plan set for me yet. In mid 2009, I unfortunately snapped my Partellar Tendon (you know the one that allows you to walk) in a home diving board accident. Luckily I was still on Cobra insurance but damn, I was pretty much convinced my dream of Steadicam was out the window. Was told by the doctor, physical therapist, and my mother that I would probably have a slight limp once I regained the ability to walk again. I was confined to my bed for two months. Which meant showering with a bucket and a wash rag. Using a urinal next to my bed cause I couldn't make it to the bathroom. During the 3rd month I got a walker and started hobbling around in pain. By the 5th month, I chose not to use a cane and started taking baby steps on my own. My physical therapist said he has never seen someone with my kind of accident heal so quickly. By the 7th month I was walking normal (slight limp). And by the 9th month, I made my first hike in Griffith Park. When I reached the top, I cried. I realized at that moment how strong I was and how much I have struggled in my life to still be living in Los Angeles. That was the moment, I knew my dream was back. I never let any depression take over my train of thought.

So, again I started from scratch. My amazing friends at Tiffen were kind enough to let me use a Flyer Steadicam system on a few jobs so I could get the feel for it again. And I felt sooooo good in the rig. I started taking odd jobs here and there. Grip, AC, PA, etc...
Then of course resorted to working in the valet area at The W Hotel in Hollywood to pay bills. Due to my savings from the workmen's comp lawsuit, a minor motorcycle crash, my mother cleaning out her savings, and a small loan from the bank, in 2011, I finally became the person I dreamed of being a "Steadicam Owner/Operator." After 5 years of not giving up in a town where every brick wall is stopping me, I did it! Me! No one helped me except my mother. Yes I was given lots of advice which I am eternally grateful, but ultimately I made it here on my own.

I tell you all my story, so you can understand what Steadicam means to me. And you can understand what some of us go through to be a part of this community. It's so sad to see a place that I used to call "The Steadicam Bible" is now like a gang of thugs, that will bust your knee caps for curiosity, asking for help, and trying to be as good as the ones you look up to.

Recently, I just found out that I am being bad mouthed by Veteran and Newbie Operators all over the world. Ever since I started out officially in 2011. That's less than two years ago. People are calling me a lowballer! I am so sickened by this. I am being blacklisted by people because I am taking jobs less than $1000 a day??? Are you kidding me? First, I am a NEWBIE, Second, I don't have a full $100,000 rig set up, and Third, who are you to tell me what I can go out for? I fight for our craft just as much as the next guy. I am not a lowballer (which is somebody that purposely goes out for a lower rate to bump someone from a job). I admit to undercutting (which isn't lowballing). If a friend asks me to do a favor, then I will negotiate that favor. Just because another operator knows them, they ASSUME that I lowballed? Oh come on now. So many guys do favor for friends, especially Veteran operators.

This profession has become a big hypocrisy. Guys talking about other guys, but yet they go out and do the same stuff. For NEWBIE operators like myself and younger generation operators, we are forced to take the low budget gigs to survive. But no matter what I do what I can to educate about rates, I do what I can to fight for my own rate on each job. I'm not saying to the hell with it. I'm taking these producer's aside and teaching them about our craft. I'm trying to figure out solutions to help put an end to this for all of us.

I always get positive feedback from everyone across the board. "Wow, you're always busy," yes, because I make things happen for myself. I can't sit around and wait for the next Steadicam call. Because sometimes they don't come. So in the mean time, I try to give back to the community by volunteering. I am creating my second iPhone app. I started my own little tour company from the bed I was confined to. I am a preservationist and historian in Hollywood in my spare time because I want to give back to the world of cinema because of how grateful I am to be here. I started Directing music videos and helping produce small projects with people that hustle just like me. I don't sit around and play games on the internet, I don't write endless blogs and reviews, and I don't post pictures about my pets. Everyday I make it an effort to do something amazing. I try to create for fun when I am not getting paid to do it.

Most of you that have met me, you know my personality. Some of you think I am funny and smart, some of you think I am a smartass and a bitch. All I have to say about that, is that I never got anywhere in this world by keeping my mouth shut and by following the leader. I am a fighter and a survivor. You don't have to pass me a job because I am going to create my own jobs. Those of you that continue to go out of your way to try and tarnish my career, it just shows how sorry and pathetic you are. Please get a life. Learn to help people and give back. Then maybe KARMA will step in and allow you to become the person you were mean't to be. I am here to stay and none of you are going to stop me. It is my every intention to be the best Steadicam Operator I can be. Which as a woman, I find is way harder than any man! If it weren't for women like Liz Ziegler, Janice Arthur, Laurie Hayball, and even Katie Boyum, and many more, I wouldn't have them to look up to and I would feel on my own. But those women are some of the best damn operators this industry has ever had, and I will make my mark alongside them.

No matter how fancy your kit is, what your personality is like, and who you know, I can honestly say that in the Steadicam world, you're ability to actually produce a fantastically composed Steadicam shot is what matters most to the community. People will know who you are and how bad they want you by the calls you are getting.

To all of you that read this long message, I thank you. I am posting this on another site in case this gets "revised." I hope my words have helped shed any light on all the hatred going on. Fly safe all. And best of luck in the future cause it's really hard out there. Don't give up!
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#8 Lars Erik

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:19 AM

I am not one of the seasoned ops around (started late 2005), but I've done my share of decent jobs in Norway in small and large tv-shows and features/TV-drama. I have built a decent equipment list with an Ultra2c and G-70X, the Meridian HD-link etc.

Personally I have stopped using this forum of lately. The main reason for this is the negative attitude some show on this forum for a long time now. Some ops say that these people just say what needs to be said. Fine, to some extent I can agree to that. But it's the way it's being done. The total lack of respect of others just is to me, quite appalling, and only serves to further degrade this once great forum.

As I said, I am not one the most seasoned ops here, so I feel somewhat awkward writing this. But sometimes what needs to be said have to be said, only in a respectable manner.

Wish everyone on this forum a great Christmas holiday. Peace out!

LE
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#9 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:01 PM

I have a little bit of feeling some people are annoyed not getting done what the where hoping?

The main reason there is "some" bs going on is political agenda's. Once you get that out of this forum, you will get back what is lost.

By the way, thanks for sharing jessica. There is a filmscript in there. ( to lighten things up.)

Oh and yes, i always say what i think
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#10 Scott Jolley

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

When I attended the SOA workshop years ago, I was struck by the level of camaraderie and support among the operators It was like I was entering a brotherhood that put aside greed for love of a craft. It inspired me and changed my entire business model. I returned home and became a company that was inclusive and openly shared. Anyone who wants to train on my gear (jibs or steadicams) is welcome. My competitors where horrified that I would be diluting the market. Instead we have grown the market and the pond has gotten bigger. It has been a smashing success.
We still face an uphill battle of convincing our local directors and producers what a rig can do. I compete against a slew of "kids" with no training and POS rigs who have no idea what they are doing. They are like turds in the well and then nobody wants to drink the water. I offer free training and get little response. Human nature is weird.
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#11 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:17 PM

I have a little bit of feeling some people are annoyed not getting done what the where hoping?


Oh wait, the HAVE it there way already. What more?...............
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#12 Dave Frederick SOC

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:13 PM

I am happy to rejoin the firum, based on the post from Jess and the nature of the vibe on this pahe. I was driven away from even spending the time to read the forum by some of the negativity and nasty flames of the past. I have solid hiope that this can be a thing of the past and that I can enjoy the banter of colleagues in a positve expression.

As a committed mentor and leader of the SOC for all of its great work I am proud. I think that we have a truly blessed job and to share is to care, it always comes back to us in a multitude of ways.

SOC Awards are March 9th 2013. Please join us. Our SOC website was hacked, nasty pharma biz, but there will be details on it soon.

Happy holidays to all,
Dave
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#13 William Demeritt

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

Posted Image

Seriously, I mean this with all my love: grow some sac people. If you disagree with Eric or whoever, tell him to piss off or maybe just ignore him! I don't care if it's a 30 year veteran or a newbie; if you disagree with them, say so or just ignore it.

The thread in question: yes, a part of me was somehow curious about the pan inertia computations as something to keep in mind when figuring out a shot. The other side said: I don't have time to do those calculations on set. In the end, if someone has that information handy, post it.

If anyone is seriously dissuaded from asking questions or worse pursuing their dreams because of someone ON THE INTERNET, you're gonna have a real hard time figuring out your real life.

This nanny "Oh help me, protect me" complex is the real threat to us and our industry. If someone pushes you out, good luck negotiating rates or following your passions in the future.
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#14 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:38 AM

Nice you guys. I too don't come on here much anymore. This forum was a lot of fun when I first joined and the information was fantastic. There was a great level of support with the community of ops and professionals on here. For the last few years its seems like there is a ton of bashing and BS. It got to the point where I would only check the "FOR SALE" section then bail off. I hope this forum can get back to what it use to be. Can't we all just get along lol.
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#15 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:43 AM

file://localhost/Users/bjmcdonnell/Pictures/iPhoto%20Library/Masters/2012/08/18/20120818-174309/185467_4046908763827_1942403948_n.jpg
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